What the new MS 150 finish line means for Austin traffic
The BP MS 150 kicks off Saturday. For the first time in three years, the weather won't be against them. A new route won't have cyclists ending their rides in downtown either.
"I'm very nervous about it," says Austin native Lisa Doggett who is riding the MS 150 for the first time. It's something she's wanted to do since she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2009.
"I want to be there on behalf of all of the people who can't be there who have MS," says Doggett.
This year's ride will be different from years past. For the first time since 2014 weather isn't a threat and that's a huge relief for organizers.
"The problem is the next year people will not want to sign up again if it was rained out or if they had a horrible ride, so we hope that the weather is beautiful so that they have a good experience," says Sierra Bailey, chair of the Austin committee for the National MS Society.
Downtown construction forced the ride to take a new route in 2018 -- with a new finish line at Circuit of the Americas. The change means Sunday traffic within the city should flow smoother and riders now have more space to celebrate.
"We were out of room. The tents had no room to grow. You couldn't put more tents in. This way we will definitely be able to add more people and hopefully more riders next year," explains Bailey.
"I wanted to be able to ride into downtown Austin. I have to say, I am a little disappointed, but this makes a lot more sense for parking and it's less disruptive to us Austinites," says Doggett.
Even though Doggett won't get a triumphant ride into downtown, crossing the finish line is the real victory and her way of thanking those who rode before her.
"They've raised money, they've supported research, they supported support services for people with MS and that's helped me stay healthy so that I can do this ride," she says.
Traffic delays are expected as participating bikers ride throughout the Bastrop County portion of the route.
Delays will be expected from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. and it is advised to use caution as there will be many bicyclists on the roadways.
Event organizers say 85 cents of every dollar raised from the ride goes directly toward research and helping people living with MS. They're also still looking for volunteers throughout the day Sunday. Volunteers can be any age and just need to show up to COTA Lot A for an assignment or to simply cheer on riders.